by Rupert Insider
“MICHAEL Shields was finally back on British soil today after his 18-month Bulgarian prison nightmare ended. “
It is a story that will lift many a heart in Liverpool and throughout the worldwide family of Liverpool supporters. Even those who want to reserve judgement on Michael’s guilt or innocence will be pleased that the engineering student is home in Liverpool in time for Christmas and he will now have access to appeals through the British and European courts.
We do not want to cast any shadow on the good news. But this blog is about Koptalk. We would remind everyone that even when Koptalk used to have a large number of readers on its free forums (now defunct) – the owner of Koptalk refused to use the site’s influence to promote the campaign to Free Michael Shields. He lumped it together with the Hillsborough Justice Campaign
He said that those two campaigns were about “politics” and his site was about “entertainment”. He also said that the people running those campaigns were “difficult to deal with”.
In the summer of 2006, this blog raised the issue of Koptalk’s relationship with the Michael Shields campaign.
Oldham refused to post the link to the official campaign site which most other LFC sites posted.
Instead, Oldham personally bought himself a “Michael Shields” domain (I will not reproduce it here). Visitors who arrived at that site were given the address of the bank which was receiving donations for the campaign – but no other information. They were deprived of direct access to the campaign and all its up-to-date progress reports.
Meanwhile Oldham personally benefitted from the national and international interest in Michael Shields. People who searched the net using “Michael Shields” as a keyword would arrive at Oldham’s site. All the visitors to the domain he had bought for about ₤5 were added to the number of clicks he claimed for his Koptalk.com conglomerate – an important statistic to advertisers.
And they were subjected to Koptalk.com advertisements. They were invited to switch to other Koptalk.com sites where, they would be sold on the “benefits” of buying a ₤30 subscription to his site.
The entire scheme was a very cheap form of advertising for him – a way of converting genuine interest in Michael Shields into money for Oldham.
Oldham is the sole owner of Koptalk. It is an unregistered business which does not publish its accounts or provide the address of a bank account – apart from PayPal. It appears to mix all business, charity and Oldham’s personal revenues and expenses.
When we raised these issues in the summer of 2006, Oldham claimed that he had made a “personal” donation of ₤1,000 to the Michael Shields campaign some time previously. This would certainly be consistent with his technique of being on both sides of an issue to buy-off critics.
(He had also made a song and dance about once having donated a PC to the HJC. Presumably he thought that justified his practice of breaking the boycott of the S*n called for by the HJC, taking the S*n daily, selling its stories second-hand on News Now as a come-on for Koptalk, personally endorsing it by publishing a photo of himself wearng a S*n promotional hat, and taking paid advertisements for “We Love the S*n” banner advertisements on Koptalk.).
One of us tried to check his claim that he had donated ₤1,000 to the Michael Shields campaign but, at the time, the official campaign was unable to confirm whether he had or had not made the donation. We gave Oldham the benefit of any doubt there may be.
But there is no doubt that he refused to promote the campaign on his site, Koptalk.
So welcome home Michael. Thanks to many LFC supporters sites that tried their best to publicise your family’s campaign to bring you back to Liverpool. But no thanks to Koptalk.
Link to Liverpool Echo EXCLUSIVE